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STYLING | 8 out of 10
On the road, the new MKS has far more presence than any production Lincoln in years
it does look pretty damn cool
adorned simply and effectively
In the metal, the MKS appears handsome, with cohesive themes
It's too bad Lincoln can't turn the MKS inside-out…The interior is the car's greatest strength
Good looks, inside and out--so why’s the Lincoln MKS somewhat of a sleeper? It’s probably the slightly dusty Lincoln badges more than anything else, but with handsome, well-executed cars like the MKS, this is one brand image apt to change.
The MKS is essentially a cousin to the Volvo S80 from the floorpan to just beneath the skin, but few civilians would know it. The sheetmetal and cabin are wholly distinct—and distinctive. Ford’s married a classically handsome shape to the same chassis, with a few Lincoln heritage cues inside and out. On the front end, the newfangled Lincoln twin grille is its most recognizable touch; in back, the wide band of chrome wrapped around its tail has been a motif for decades. Somehow it melds together like a good quirk-free casserole into a unified whole. It may have passing resemblance to the Lexus GS and the S80, but especially in dark colors, the MKS snares an identity all its own—a triumph for Ford’s upscale brand and the company’s current quest to give Lincoln new life.
The quiet, classy styling inside and out is a marked counterpoint to Cadillac’s brash CTS—and the MKS’s fit and interior finishes are a step beyond the Caddy’s pieces, too. The cabin sports a linear, spare theme that Lincoln has been evolving all decade. There’s a wide dash wearing thin ribs of metallic trim, a callback to the Lincolns of the Sixties. White-lit electroluminescent gauges glow softly at night off its leather and wood trim, with noticeably closer attention to detail. It’s fine enough, and we’d pit it against the likes of the Audi A6, which has gotten more plasticky over time. The MKS would win, too.
The 2011 MKS is a groundbreaker for Lincoln: It shows a graceful command of luxury’s styling language.